Museo Regionale Interdisciplinare

Top choice in Messina

Messina's redeveloped regional museum is one of Sicily's lesser-known highlights, with an extensive collection of fascinating art and archaeology. Its many highlights include the ram bow of an ancient Roman warship, the wonderfully figurative San Gregorio (St Gregory) polyptych by local boy Antonello da Messina (1430–79), and two splendid works by Caravaggio (1571–1610): L'Adorazione dei pastori (Adoration of the Shepherds) and Risurrezione di Lazzaro (Resurrection of Lazarus).

Other standout paintings include an early-16th-century depiction of Cristo alla colonna (Christ at the Pillar) and the striking Deposizione dalla croce (Deposition from the Cross) by Colijn de Coter (1474–1536). The collection also includes the original Neptune from Messina's 16th-century Fontana del Nettuno and a fascinating navigational map of the Mediterranean created by Placido Caloiro e Oliva in 1646. You'll also find the excavated ruins of a monastery's putridarium, a crypt in which corpses were left to decompose on masonry chairs before the remaining bones were collected, cleaned and stored in an ossuary.

To reach the museum, catch a tram at Piazza Cairoli and take a ride up the sickle-shaped harbour. Halfway along, you'll see the 16th-century Fontana del Nettuno in the middle of two busy roads, and the colossal golden statue, the Madonna della Lettera, towering over the port. Alight at the Ringo tram stop, from where the museum is a short walk.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Messina attractions

1. Fontana del Nettuno

1.29 MILES

Located where Via Garibaldi spills into Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, the 16th-century Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune's Fountain) is one of Messina's great…

2. Madonna della Lettera


Guarding Messina's harbour is the soaring golden statue of the Madonna della Lettera. A good spot to admire it and the harbour is from the seafront…

3. Duomo di Messina

1.75 MILES

Messina's one great sight is the Norman Duomo (or at least a faithful replica of it). One of Sicily's finest cathedrals, its treasures include an…

4. Fontana di Orione

1.77 MILES

The pale marble Fontana di Orione (1553) depicts a lounging Orion, the mythical founder of Messina. The fountain was constructed by Giovanni Angelo…

5. Piazza del Duomo

1.78 MILES

Piazza del Duomo is home to Messina's cathedral and its curious campanile (bell tower). Soaring 60m into the sky, the tower incorporates an astronomical…

7. Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria


Over several floors in Southern Italy's finest museum you'll descend through millennia of local history, from Neolithic and Palaeolithic times through…

8. Castello Ruffo

8.62 MILES

An imposing fortress surmounting the headland commanding Scilla, this castle has at times been a lighthouse and a monastery. It houses a luntre, the…